Time Lapse

Last week I made a timelapse video of the view out of my office window. I did it by using my Canon S30 and it’s bundled Remote Capture software to take a picture every 20 seconds for about 26 hours. Then, after much searching and experimenting, I bought Quicktime Pro and used it to compress the 5000 JPGs into a Quicktime video. You can see the results here. It’s 28 megs, so be careful there.

I learned a few important things I will use next time.

  • Use manual focus so the camera doesn’t start focusing on rain drops on the window.
  • Turn off the monitors so that they don’t put a huge glare on the windows at night.
  • Lock the door so the cleaning people don’t come in and turn on the light.
  • Find something more interesting to point the camera at.
  • Don’t even bother with free software to make the video. They all suck and crash.
  • On Location: New Jersey

    I’m… writing… this… from… New… Jersey.

    The… reason… for… the… pauses… is… that… I… am… connected… to… the… Internet… at… 19.2kb/s…

    Enough of that.

    Let me tell you something about dial up. It sucks.
    It sucks in a way that I can no longer tolerate. I didn’t bring my laptop with me this trip cause I didn’t feel like carrying extra crap and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a connection at Kelly’s house anyway, but from now on it goes with me. There’s got to be a 802.11b link somewhere in this God forsaken state.

    She has a 56k modem which, you know, is almost tolerable but between the shitty phone lines in this teeny little town, the shitty phone company that won’t fix em and the utterly broken internal wiring the best connection is 19.2.

    Anyway… I saw Return of the King tonight with Kelly. Great movie. Very well done. I loved it. No complaints. I cried a little (shut up you!) and was holding my breath at some parts. That might not make much sense cause I’ve read the books of course. Get this: When I read a book for entertainment I immediatly forget it. It’s great. I reread all my books over and over and over. I’ve reread all of Douglas Adams’ books dozens of times and they are just as good each time. I’ve read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy probably 4 times and it’s always perfect. All the surprising parts are still surprising. All the sad parts are still sad. It’s great.

    The movie was long, but I didn’t really notice it. The seats were kinda uncomfy so I squirmed a bit, but it was definitly tolerable. The movie kept me hooked throughout.

    Yesterday was Christmas and it was cool. I got some awesome bar towels for my Kegerator (John Bull, Guinness and Beamish), an awesome Terry Pratchett fable, a hand held chess game, a Guinness t-shirt (right from Ireland) and assorted sundries. Very cool. Visited family, ate lots of food, drank half a gallon of my sister’s sangria (sp?) because I didn’t know it was meant to be sipped from a wine glass. Woops. Tomorrow I try to discover if there is a place in this town to buy a hard drive and try to make Kelly’s computer suck just a little less.

    That’s it. Goodnight.

    Old Skool

    Today a friend needed some computer help and he stopped by. The computer wouldn’t boot and it was given to him, so we just decided to install a fresh OS. It was running Win ME, which is old and broken so we installed Win XP which is the new hotness.

    Anyway, we didn’t know what kind of video card it had. There were no markings on the card, Windows didn’t recognize it and for some reason it’s BIOS wasn’t showing a banner as it booted, so I couldn’t tell.

    I tried a few things here and there I couldn’t figure it out. Suddenly, like some kind of thing that is cool I remembered my bit bangin’ SVGA programin’ days and I went into old skool mode.

    I pulled up a command prompt, I ran debug.exe which is the command prompt debugger that has come with DOS and Windows since the dawn of time. I reached deep into the bowels of my memory and pulled c000:0000 from the bottom.I entered “d c000:000” and looked at the glorious video BIOS copyright string telling me the type of video card.

    You see, a video card has a BIOS on it. It’s similar to the BIOS on the computer in that it performs basic functions the hardware needs to survive before the drivers can get loaded and take over. The BIOS in a video card automatically gets mapped into a PCs memory space at c000:0000 during boot up and historically the copyright string has always been right up there near the top. The D command in the DOS debugger dumps memory at the specified address in human readable form.

    Was it worth this long ass story? Probably not, but man it felt good to actually touch the hardware again. Modern compilers have so removed the programmer from the hardware, which is admittedly probably a good thing, that most “senior” programmers now probably wouldn’t have a clue as to what I am talking about.

    C:Temp>debug
    -d c000:000
    C000:0000  55 AA 68 E9 36 06 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   U.h.6...........
    C000:0010  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00-68 01 00 00 00 00 49 42   ........h.....IB
    C000:0020  4D 02 00 00 00 00 00 00-00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   M...............
    C000:0030  20 37 36 31 32 39 35 35-32 30 00 00 00 00 00 00    761295520......
    C000:0040  3F 3F 00 00 00 00 00 00-08 01 00 00 00 00 00 00   ??..............
    C000:0050  32 30 30 33 2F 30 36 2F-30 36 20 31 35 3A 34 31   2003/06/06 15:41
    C000:0060  00 00 A0 00 E9 DA 12 00-E9 CA 1E 00 00 00 00 00   ................
    C000:0070  44 52 28 37 90 08 4B 17-19 7C 00 00 00 00 00 00   DR(7..K..|......
    -d
    C000:0080  0D 0A 50 2F 4E 31 33 33-2D 50 43 31 39 30 30 2D   ..P/N133-PC1900-
    C000:0090  32 39 0D 0A 00 28 43 29-20 31 39 38 38 2D 32 30   29...(C) 1988-20
    C000:00A0  30 33 2C 20 41 54 49 20-54 65 63 68 6E 6F 6C 6F   03, ATI Technolo
    C000:00B0  67 69 65 73 20 49 6E 63-2E 20 42 4B 2D 41 4D 49   gies Inc. BK-AMI
    C000:00C0  20 56 45 52 30 30 38 2E-30 31 31 2E 30 30 36 2E    VER008.011.006.
    C000:00D0  30 30 30 00 20 70 61 70-63 31 39 30 30 2E 32 39   000. papc1900.29
    C000:00E0  20 76 36 31 31 20 00 56-33 35 30 41 47 50 20 44    v611 .V350AGP D
    C000:00F0  47 44 31 55 4E 00 00 4F-45 4D 20 56 52 2E 30 30   GD1UN..OEM VR.00
    -q
    
    C:Temp>
    

    Alcorexia?

    <ageless> I want to drink beer, but my belly is full.
    <ageless> Maybe if I force myself to throw up dinner I could drink beer.
    <nersh> youve coined your own drinking disorder
    <ageless> I call it Beerlemia.
    <nersh> alcorexia
    <Catina> lol
    <ageless> hehehe
    <ageless> alcorexia is awesome
    <ageless> hahahha
    * ageless actually LOLed

    Big Trak

    Depending on your level of geekyness that title either just sent you into a childhood memory induced siezure or you are scratching your head.

    This morning my brother asked me if I remembered a 6 wheeled programmable toy from childhood and I immediatly freaked out. Big Trak was the coolest toy I remember having as a kid and after spending a few minutes reminiscing about it and looking at information on the web I think I might have a lot to thank Milton Bradley for.

    Big Trak was a 6 wheeled tank shaped robot available starting in 1979. I had a 24 key keypad on it’s back that you used to program the toy to move around. You could enter up to 16 instructions such as move forward or backwards, turn right or left, pause, and fire into memory and then press GO and the Big Trak would execute your program. The controls and the premise were simple, but the implications were pretty enormous.

    I think now that Big Trak might have been my introduction to programming. I remember spending hours and hours programming the Big Trak to do exactly what I wanted and I remember feeling limited about the 16 instruction limitation.

    I don’t know how long I got to play with the Big Trak, but I do remember when it broke. I eventually wore the keypad out and not all the buttons would function. My Dad and I tried to repair it by installing 24 little red push button switches from Radio Shack, but neither of us knew anything about digital electronics and couldn’t figure out how the keypad had less outputs than 25. All I knew then was that 24 inputs should equal 24 outputs. I can still see the unfinished keypad sitting on the workbench in the basement in our house in Mantua.

    Soon after that we got our first home computer; an Apple IIc. That was where programming blossomed into a lifelong addiction for me but I think that I have Big Trak to thank for getting me started.